When I started the task of writing every day this month, I never expected for anything I wrote to impact the Internet on a grandiose level. In truth, I’m completing this exercise for myself. I grew up with dreams of being a professional writer. Because of life’s wounds of the self-inflicted — or not — kind, I never committed full-stop to making that dream a reality. In every way, truly a “dream deferred.”
I never lost my love for writing. I lost my drive.
But a few miserable weeks at work caused me to wonder about my life’s passions. Especially, my purpose. And whether God sent that chaos my way to show me that I should revisit what I loved so much. So “Write Every Day In July” was born.
Could I write every day? Can I create for long stretches over time? Has the ship sailed at this point? Will this show me whether I need to pursue writing full-time? Should I kill the dream once and for all?
So far, this process taught me a very important lesson: quality over quantity.
As creatives, we can be very hard on ourselves. What we think is great, others may believe to be trash. And vice versa. In actuality, every piece you create is trash to you. You wonder why people consume your work in the first place.
Less than five reads on a piece does that to you. Especially when it’s a piece that you love so much. My favorite of the series so far, “Backseat. 33rd and Race Streets”, only accumulated two views. Two.
But one of my latest blogs, “But She Was Still Murdered”, officially went viral over the weekend. At 1,100-plus views, it currently stands as my most-read story on Medium. Period. A few pieces written prior to the “Write Every Day In July” challenged cracked 600 views but that happened over time. The response to “But She Was Still Murdered” grew overnight.
July 15th’s entry does not stand as one of my favorites. It did come from a very sincere and pain-stricken place, however. One of my co-worker knew the victim’s mother. When I researched what happened, my heart dropped.
So I wrote about my feelings. And added those words to this series. And kept it moving.
So I thought.
A friend, who encouraged to me start this writing challenge, told me she loved it. On base, that was all I needed. As I said, you don’t write for views. You write to write. But to know that something you wrote doesn’t deserve its rightful place in a trash bin is great too.
I kept writing for the series. Kept writing things that I want to delete at this very moment. And then it happened.
So and so highlighted your story. So and so recommended your story. So and so commented on your story.
I looked at the highlights but not the comments. You learn the hard way about comments.
It caused me to reflect on the fact that every story written about pain tend to trend very well. Marginalized groups can be masochistic in that way. We love to read about suffering. We love to be triggered. It shows our pulse. Ultimately, it brings relation. Someone must know how we feel.
Happiness doesn’t bring views. Solutions don’t bring views. That’s the “think-piece era” for you.
I just wonder what happened. Who shared the story? How does “going viral” actually start? I possess no way of finding out. I wish I knew.
Not so I can duplicate the results with another story. I’m not that shallow.
This is part of my attempt to write every day in July. You can follow the series here.